Alabama has had some amazing quarterbacks the last few years. The SEC Offensive Player of the Year, a national championship savior and Heisman candidate who rewrote the record books, and now another Heisman candidate who’s rewriting the record books.
And, of course, there’s another waiting in the wings who looks like he could be pretty decent. Bryce Young was a 5 star, #2 overall recruit in the Class of 2020, tied for the highest rated recruit in the Saban-era.
With Mac Jones not quite having a lock on the job after the 2019 season, there was some thought Young could come in and compete for the starting gig. The weird off-season and Jones’s stellar play put an end to that, but Young is still getting some playing time as the back-up quarterback. And you can see the flashes.
1st and 10: It’s Young’s first play. Note that Alabama is on the right hash. They have 12 personnel (1 running back, 2 tight ends) with Carl Tucker (#86) and Jahleel Billingsley (#19) on either side. John Metchie (#8) is close on the right, and DeVonta Smith (#6) is wide left, outside the left hash. Young gets the snap, drops a couple steps, and looks to his left. And he just rips it, from the right hash to the far sideline, from the Alabama 17 yard line to the Kentucky 45 yard line. You can see Young’s quick release and the pretty spiral, and he just drops it perfectly for Smith to catch it.
Let’s have another look.
Not bad for his first play.
2nd and goal: Young is in the gun. Smith motions from left to right before the snap, drawing one defender with him. This play looks like it’s designed for Brian Robinson (#4). The tight end and receiver on the left run routes to create traffic, clearing the way for Robinson flaring out into the flat. Unfortunately, Young doesn’t appear to realize that the linebacker will be unblocked with the protection they have. He also doesn’t really react to the free rusher and just takes the sack. So he doesn’t make a play, but he also doesn’t do anything dumb and turn it over. But maybe, like Tua Tagovailoa, he just wanted a little more room.
3rd and goal: We get some weird camera angles here, but so it goes. Alabama is backed up to the 18 yard line now. Billingsley motions in tight on the right; and DeVonta Smith is wide right, just inside the numbers. The play breaks down immediately, with right tackle Evan Neal (#73) getting beat badly. Young somehow eludes the sack, partially ducking under it; and he scrambles forward. He’s unrattled, though, and keeps his eyes down field, searching for something. There’s not really anything there, at least for your average quarterback. Young likes what he sees, however. He rifles it, throwing across his body while on the run; and he puts it right on Smith’s back hip. And I mean right on it. Smith catches it and spins around into the end zone for Young’s first college touchdown.
Here’s another angle.